Reflections of a Christian Woman
by Marjory Washington Patrick
| CHAPTER 5
Table of Contents
|Chapter One--A Bicycle Ride To Remember
by Annie Watson
(experiencing a coma and recovery)
|Chapter Two--The Teen Years
by April Washington Goodwin
(experiencing an illness as a teen)
|Chapter Three--80 Years Young
by Christine Weedon
(experiencing many challenges)
|Chapter Four--Remembering the 60s
by Roberta Dowdy
(experiencing the 60s as a young mother)
|Chapter Five--A Ministers Wife
by H. Susie Ezell
(experiencing ministering abroad and in US)
|Chapter Six--A Missionary For The Lord
by Beverly Frowner
(experiencing being a missionary)
|Chapter Seven--Changed Inside And Out
by Diana Hammuck
(experiencing the causes and effects of giving
up ones children for adoption)
|Chapter Eight--A Letter Written To God
by Ruby Fields
(experiencing the healing power of God)
|Chapter Nine--Unequally Yoked
by Gloria Brown
(experiencing the joys and challenges of marriage)
|Chapter Ten--In His Time
by Jacquelin Wright
(experiencing the challenges of being single)
|Chapter Eleven--Dreams Do Come True
by Arlene Thomas
(experiencing the loss and gain of the material
and the triumph of the spiritual during good and
|Chapter Twelve--He Looked Beyond My Faults
by Terylle Lavender
(experiencing the challenge of being an unwed
|Chapter Thirteen--Oh How I Love Him So
by Marjory Washington Patrick
(experiencing the Lord in interracial settings)
|Chapter Fourteen--Ye Are A Living
(experiencing the commitment by you, the reader)
A MINISTER'S WIFE
by H. Susie Ezell
Forty years ago, the Lord laid a burden upon the hearts of two single American ladies to be missionaries to Morocco (North Africa). Morocco is primarily a Muslim country. Alice and Beth (not their real names, American missionaries can be targeted for persecution by Muslims then as well as today) went as they were led by the Lord to work in the midst of the people in a little town called Azrou.
Most Moroccans are descended from Berbers or from Arabs who invaded the country during the Muslin conquest. There are also twenty-thousand Jews living in Morocco, plus an ever-changing small population of black nomads called the Hauatines, who are a desert tribe. The population of Morocco is over twenty million. Arabic is spoken in the cities and along the seacoasts, with Berber still the native language in the remote districts. Almost all Moroccans can speak several languages. French and Spanish are easily understood by most people in the cities.
The Berber life-style centers around the tribe. Everyone in a tribe can trace his/her family back to a common ancestor. There are at least six hundred different Berber tribes. Alice and Beth were happy serving the Lord there. One day they heard a knock at the door. There standing in the doorway was a young woman and a small bundle. The young woman asked them to please take her bundle. Somehow they were not amazed that the bundle was a baby, but told the young woman they had not come to Morocco to take in children but to work and intermingle among the people and tell them about Christ.
After the young mother left with her baby, the Lord began speaking to their hearts, telling them what greater way could they lead ones to Christ but to bring them up as children? Statistics show that one percent of individuals who receive Christ as Saviour do so by the age of four. Eighty-five percent
of individuals who receive Christ as Saviour do so between the ages of 4-14. Ten percent are saved between the ages of 14-30. Only five percent who receive Christ as Saviour do so past the age of thirty.
So they prayed to the Lord and asked Him if this were His desire for their lives. If this is how God wanted to use them, they were willing, and He would send them the children. Sure enough, a baby boy (Fred) was brought to them. As he grew older, they prayed that God would send him a brother. Not too long after this request, the Lord sent him a sister. As word began spreading about these two American missionary ladies taking in unwanted children, the home began to grow and grow. I was the sixth child to arrive at the home.
The Children's Haven in Morocco is a faith mission. The support to care for the home comes from the missionaries and their supporting churches in the United States. Some of the children have individual sponsors from the states, but primary support comes from the missionaries for all running expenses.
During my twenty years at the home, the support had to care for about hundred people. This included all the Moroccan children plus the missionaries and their children. We had no government help. Not one day passed that we went without a meal. At times when funds were low, we would pray and see how God would answer our prayers. Maybe the next day a check would be in the mail, or someone may come to visit and would leave us a gift of money. The Lord always provided.
The clothes and shoes we wore were received from friends, and some of our clothes were handmade. We seldom received anything new, but the things we received were in good condition and we were grateful. The home is located on five acres of land. We had several large buildings. In the main building was where most of the activities took place such as in the large kitchen, dining room, and living room. We had our own chapel where we met every Sunday for worship services. Two services were held. Sunday mornings, the service was preached in the native Arabic tongue. The other service was preached in English.
Most visitors who would come and visit would say the home reminded them of camp. We would rise each day at 6:00AM. Breakfast was served at 7:00 AM. We completed our chores before going to school (which was also located on the premises). The missionaries were our teachers. School began at 8:00AM. At noon we broke for lunch and continued with our chores. We returned to school which usually ended by 4:00PM. Supper was served at 5:00. We did our chores and our homework. Bedtime varied according to age.
Each week day was filled with scheduled activities, such as Mon--staff business, Tue--free time, Wed--prayer meeting, Thurs--mother and father evening where the girls would get together and chat with our moms and the boys would get together and chat with the men (fathers). Fri- was fun night where together we would play games and have refreshments. Saturday night we had vespers where we would get together and sing, have special music and, then, a story related to Biblical truths.
The home is still in existence today but with fewer children. The missionaries are growing old in age and not as able to take in more children. Many children offered to them have been turned away to other government agencies. Please pray that God's work will continue. Younger missionary couples are needed to take care of the babies and children in the haven and bring them up under the guidance of the Lord.
When those of us who were there from the beginning graduated from high school, we had a choice to either continue education in college or find work. Many of my original family left the home, found work, married, or even came to the States to college. We are scattered all over the world. Praise the Lord for the missionaries (my family). If it were not for them, where would I be today?
My biological mother had recently gone through a divorce and was unable to raise me alone. She knew of some nuns who took in children until a certain age where they would then turn over to government care. My mother, then eight months pregnant, asked the nuns if they would take her child when it was born. They weren't able to take another newborn, but they told her there were two American missionaries who could. My mother walked further down the road until she came to their home. She told them of her dilemma and asked if they would take her child when it was born. They were happy to do so. In fact, my mother stayed in their home until I was born and then returned to her village. I know while in their home my mother had opportunity to hear about the Lord and to this day I continue to pray for her salvation.
Being accepted into this home was the beginning of God's sovereign hand of mercy on me. He chose me out of all the many, many unwanted children to be born and placed in a home called The Children's Haven. There I learned day by day about Christ. However, it wasn't until I was twelve years-old that I personally asked Jesus into my heart. I had seen the routine of receiving Christ because many of my older brothers and sisters in the home had given their lives to Jesus; I thought I could mimic what they did too. So many people are just that way, mimicking the Christian life; there is no real genuineness of new birth.
In 1968, we had an earthquake in our country. I was asleep on the top bunk, and I awoke to the trembling. Everything was shaking. I asked my sister, if this room caved in were we ready to go to Heaven? By my being on the top bunk, I just knew I'd be the first to die. I was scared and at the same time joking just a little. The earthquake subsided, but the trembling in my soul continued. Even at the age of twelve, I was under conviction by the Holy Spirit. Was I ready to meet the Saviour if I should die? That Sunday evening March 1968, I knocked on one of my mother's doors; I told her that I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. She was so excited. Even though it was midnight, I couldn't sleep. She opened her Bible and read some salvation scriptures to me. One verse that stands out so vividly in my mind is Revelation 3:20 Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.
Even though Satan was doing his best to keep me from leaving my bed and going to my mothers to have them lead me to the Lord, I refused to listen. I had often heard the promise of the word of God, that He so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). I am His child forever! I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:28). When I gave my life to Jesus, I knew at that moment that I belonged to Him and that my life was His to lead as He pleased. I wanted to serve Him totally. I knew He wanted me in full time Christian service. I dreamed of marrying a minister.
At age nineteen, I graduated from high school. The Lord was leading me to attend Bible school. I began to pray for the Lord's guidance as to what school to attend. I applied to several Bible schools but had not received a reply from any of them. One day while thumbing through the pages of the Moody Monthly, I saw a small advertisement of Carver Bible College in Atlanta, GA. The bold print read, Training Black Men and Women for the Ministry. I knew within my heart everything was going to work out because this was God's will. For we know all things work together for good to them that are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-31). I had peace within. Obtaining my passport which is usually a long drawn out process, I received in one week! I applied to Carver and was accepted. I was told I could work in the cafeteria to help pay my tuition.
In July of 1977, I flew to the U.S.A. to attend Carver Bible College. My initial intentions upon graduation, I felt, was to return to the Children's Haven to help bring up other children in the Saving Knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Lord even allowed me to be able to save enough money to return to Morocco for the summer and work at the home. After a summer of working in the home, I returned to Carver. God made it clear that He had something else for my life. I shall give you the desires of your heart ( Psalm 37:4 ).
In the early 1940s, the Paynes were burdened to help Black pastors learn the Bible. In the fall of 1943, Carver Bible Institute began. The Paynes named the school after Dr. George Washington Carver, the renowned Black Christian and scientist. The first classes were held in a store front facility acquired on Chestnut Street in Atlanta, Georgia. The hunger of Black students for the Word of God was confirmed, and the school grew beyond the capacity of the Chestnut facility. Having sought the Lord's leading for additional space for growth, the Paynes relocated the school in Southwest Atlanta. Dr. Payne labored with Carver Bible College until his death. Dr. William Hungerpiller became president where he served for many years.
Carver Bible College is basically structured to prepare men and women for full time Christian work. Subjects are Biblical courses but other courses are offered as well. Two types of degrees are offered. Bachelors in Biblical Education, if you take Greek and pass! Or a Bachelor of Arts equivalent to an Associates two-year degree. I would highly recommend Carver Bible College if you are led of the Lord into full time ministry. Even for part time study, Carver Bible College is a great place to learn the word of God and become more equipped to serve Him anywhere. And what about my dream of marrying a minister?
God brought a young man into my life who was also attending Carver. He was preparing for the pastorate. I graduated in 1981 with a Bachelors in Biblical Education. Tim had a year to go, so I moved to his hometown in Michigan and began working and making plans for our wedding. He graduated in May 1982, and we were married that June. Tim served as an associate pastor for about five years. He also served as an interim pastor for about two years. In 1986, the Lord laid it upon our hearts and opened the doors for the awesome opportunity and challenge of full time pastoring at Mt. Calvary Christian Bible Church. We started with just four members and the Lord has continued to build His church and currently we have nearly 150 members including children.
Dreams and desires come true, but they are also accompanied with trials and hard roads and obstacles. The Lord has been with us always and is bringing us through. I am proud of what God is doing through my husband. Our missionary contributions include supporting the Children's Haven still in Morocco. I grew up having to help raise 30 of my own brothers and sisters in the Children's Haven. This has helped me greatly in my service at Mt. Calvary Christian Bible Church.
I have an opportunity to meet with a group of ministers wives the second Monday of the month for fellowship and encouragement. I serve as the chaplain. There are ministers' wives of all different denominations. We've studied several books, one entitled, Becoming the Noble Woman. There is so much work to do.
A verse that has meant so much to me during my Christian walk is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. I have trusted Him all these years to plan my life for me. In 1984, the Lord blessed Tim and me with a son, and, then, He chose to take him home to be with Him several hours after birth. This loss was very painful for us, but we've been comforted with the verse in II Samuel 12:22-23, where David cried to the Lord that his child would live, but God chose to take him to glory. David said, I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. We know that one day when the rapture comes we will see our son, Malcolm. In 1985 we were blessed with our first daughter Jamela Marie, and in 1986 we were blessed with a second daughter, Christina.
I have so much to be thankful for as I look back over my thirty-something years of life. God snatched me out of a Moslem home and placed me in a God fearing Christian Childrens Haven where I could come to know Him personally. He allowed me the opportunity to attend Bible school and gave me a wonderful, sincere Christian husband and children and extended church family. God is with us leading and guiding our lives and promised never to leave us. Praise Him for all His goodness, kindness, and mercies which shall follow us (Tim, Susie, Jamela, Christina) all the days of our lives, and one day we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Praise His wonderful name!
Daily works from morn' till night, perfect children, act just right, house is always neat and clean, company may soon be seen. Cheerfully at every meeting, smiling nicely with her greeting. Slim, trim, and always fit confident and quick with wit. Thrifty, smart, and pretty, too, knows the Bible through and through. Cooks and entertains with zest, never worried, never stressed. Talent, charm, and patient too, nothing that she cannot do. Never existing in real life, she's the mythical preacher's wife!
by Carolyn Simpson, a pastor's wife in Mobile, Alabama
The call of being a wife is awesome. Imagine the call of being a minister's wife. I have witnessed one too many local churches having to suffer from the consequences of divorce as it hits the Christian community and robs us of our testimonies and thriving
ministries. One too many churches has been robbed of their effectiveness because of the testimonies of the pastor and his wife. Today more than ever the church, the world needs the ministry of spirit filled by ministers wives. As the poem states, there are many unrealistic expectations that people thrust upon ministers wives, and, yet at the same time, ministers wives roles are not that they sit modestly dressed, dawned in their best "Sunday go to meeting hat.
The minister's wife has a key role to play, and God needs her there. There is one vivid example I remember most from my pastor's wife. Vivian always stood by her husband's side at the door following Sunday services. She also exemplified the oneness of their ministry in numerous ways. She never openly or publicly criticized her husband/pastor. She gave love, hope, and strength for the ministry they share together.
The minister needs his wife. He needs a creatively giving spiritual, emotional, and practical help mate, who will add a unique and vibrant dimension that permeates an entire church fellowship and brings completeness to its ministry. The minister's wife should complement the husband's leadership, which cannot function well without this dual quality. Together they can embody traits and skills, which by the way, come more naturally to women than to men. Leadership is more closely akin to nurturing than to ruling, more like guiding than demanding, more like serving than being served. The minister's wife who combines the qualities of selflessness with the qualities of a shared vision, passion, commitment, and encourager becomes part of a team (church body) that can't be beat.
This is a tall order, you say. Yes, I agree. Yet like the Lord told Zerubbabel, He tells us, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit" Zechariah 4:6. Other practical tips include making sure you say something daily to build your husband/pastor. Have consistent personal devotions. Deepen your prayer life by keeping a prayer journal. Prayer journals often include a daily devotional scripture text. Pages are provided for one to write out specific daily prayer request.
Missionaries or church missions supported by your church
Tasks the wife / husband or other family members need to complete
Wants and needs
Page filled with thanksgiving
Family and friends
Specific prayer for salvation needs or church supporters
Learn to be comfortable with women of all ages, young, middle-aged, and elderly, women with peaceful spirits, generous hearts, and a good sense of humor. Pray for, but avoid becoming close to women who are angry, contentious, habitual complainers, or fault finders. Encouraging ministers wives support groups are great, but be sure they are groups which are truly seeking the kingdom of God. Be careful to guard support groups from becoming complaint centers or centers for ministry comparisons. One pastor's wives group meets once a month beginning with a devotional challenge, a time of testimony, has a planned ministry for a collective local need--where the community can see the church of God working together rather that as elite groups on different corners comparing one another. Each session closes in prayers of encouragement for one another in ministry.
I don't want to end this section without mentioning the importance of those of us in the pews to enrapture the truth of 1 Corinthians 3:9a, "For we are laborers together with God. We need the minister's wife, and she needs us.